I read somewhere that there are three stages to the dream: birth, death, and resurrection. The birth of a dream is when it is first conceived. It is like the birth of a nation – full of pride, joy, and expectancy of great things. There is a fire in the engine that cannot be controlled. Hope is high and options are limitless. Then after much toll, hope fades or as another friend said “revolutions have a tendency to kill their babies.” There is a dark stage where it seems like any and everything goes wrong. Like Joseph and the robe of many colors, the glorious birth of a dream yields many unforeseen dangers from without and within. People that you thought were friends and supporters fall to the wayside. Even family relationships show cracks. As you enter a seeming prison of rejections and wondering if you were crazy, the dreams seemingly flat lines and is laid to rest. Then later something happens to resuscitate the dream. However, it’s resurrected form isn’t the self centered or small minded version you initially envisioned. The dream transcends you and has a greater, broader impact and appeal.
“New York can destroy an individual, or it can fulfill him, depending on a good deal on luck…No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.” EB White
Coming to the concrete jungle to grow and nature a dream is not for the faint of heart. Many come, just as many leave. But as the saying goes “if you can make it here you can make it anywhere.” It’s the concrete jungle where dreams of made of. One thing that encourages me in my pursuit is meeting fellow dreamers, new to the city to take a bite out of the Big Apple. Meeting Jeta, Shoes in the City photographer, ( see June 19th post), came at a point when we were both ready to throw our hands up. But we leaned on each other for encouragement and weathered the ups and downs of pursuing a dream.
Recently, I met another dream chaser whose journey is similar to my own. He is from the Midwest, a lawyer, and moved to NYC to get his career as a rapper full steam ahead – Mekka Don. He too endured the same questions I encountered. Why would you want to leave the practice? This question always frustrated me. As a kid when we are asked “what do you want to do when you grow up,” most of us rattled off several things. Somehow, between kindergarten and junior high, we are told or forced to believe we must choose one. Why? If you are gifted with several talents, why must you neglect the others for the sake of one. Generally, my response is that I have tested my mettle as an attorney. Now it’s time for me to explore some dreams deferred – passions that lay under the surface too long and now demand to be heard. However, most people because of fear, preferring the comfort of stability or job security, will not address that gnawing feeling inside that yearns for more. My dad said, “you don’t want to come to the end of your life and wonder what would have happened if only you tried.”
Therefore, when I met Mekka Don I immediately had respect for what he was trying to accomplish and understood his struggle here. Mekka is not your typical rapper. Most people in and outside the music industry can’t see beyond his Juris Doctorate to take him as a serious rapper because he doesn’t “fit” the stereotype of a former gang banging, drug slinging, thuggish rapper. Mekka calls his rap game the real “Legal” Hustle. His lyrics are about his parents insistence on education first then the pursuit of stacking the bills legally. Mekka’s flow is akin to a Busta Rhymes, Twista, and true to his Ohio roots, a bit of Bizzy Bones.
In his rap, “Dirty (H-Town),” he gives tribute to the southern Houston flow.
His “Here We Go,” has more of a Midwestern flavor with the “left foot right foot climbing to the top” hook. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foFPSJFt4S4
His latest song, “Stack ‘em Dollar Bills,” is about getting money and cars the old fashioned way – hard work and sweat equity.
Mekka is not your typical rapper and that is why he’s good. The lawyer in him understands that he is a brand and signing a record contract just for a deal is not in his best long term interest. Yet he respects the rap game and those that came before him. He’s not hating other rappers that came from the streets. Without them hip hop would not exist or evolved into a new music form as American as apple pie and jazz. Yet he represents an alternative – good lyricist, good flow, highly educated, and dedicated to giving back to those coming after him.
Turns out we’ve both been in NYC for two years and talked about the growth and maturity of our writing skills/technique/styles since moving here. I respect Mekka as a fellow attorney. I have more respect for him as an artist. Rap in its purest form is lyrical and poetic. He respects his craft and the necessity of the development process. I am a huge fan of his yet to be released song, “Forever Love,” a duet with Lana Fame. Oh that is a laid back summer jam. Perfect for a backyard cookout, sunning at the beach, or strolling along PCH or Lakeshore Drive.
Mekka Don keep it coming!